Loans are very accessible these days; with the myriad of loan apps available, you need not go through rigorous paperwork before the money gets to you. However, the decision to take a loan comes with its responsibilities.
Borrowing money is easy, but you’ll agree with me that paying back can be hard. Whether you’re a frequent borrower or it’s your first time taking a loan, there are pretty basic but crucial things to consider before taking a decision that might have you reeling in debt.
Questions to ask before you take a loan
1. What is the interest rate?
The interest rate will significantly impact how much you borrow or if you borrow at all. Is the lending service asking for a 5% monthly interest? Is it 10%? Repayments usually come with interest. So what does that amount to? Also, are there any other fees? Have you compared the rate with other options? Your goal here is to get the lowest interest rate with the most favourable terms. Hence, before clicking that “Confirm” button on the loan app, be sure to do your calculations.
2. What is the repayment process and timeline?
Most loans have monthly repayment options which would work for you especially if you’re a salary earner. How much are you paying monthly? What is the timeline (number of months for repayment)? What is the due date for each month? Will the amount be deducted automatically from your bank account? These questions prepare you for repayment and prevent you from “defaulting by ignorance”.
3. Is this a trusted lender?
Checking if the lender is legit is important. Many fraudulent businesses are out there after desperate people seeking loans. Trustworthy financial institutions follow regulations, have good reviews, are keen on security, and have reasonable interest rates. You should also watch out for any unclear fees and terms or hidden costs throughout the application process.
4. Do I make enough money to repay the loan?
In fact, one of the first steps a loan service takes when you apply for a loan is to check if you are even qualified for it. No lender will lend money to someone that doesn’t have a stable income. They look at your income, bank statement and a range of other criteria. All these are to ensure you make enough money to be able to meet up with payments and still have some left for yourself.
And note that, choosing a shorter repayment timeline usually means you will pay more every month. On the flip side, a longer repayment timeline provides you with lesser, more affordable monthly payments.
Truth is, things happen and loans can actually be a lifesaver. However, take them only when it is absolutely necessary and after you might have tried all other options. Ensure you are not taking it to finance a lifestyle you are not up to yet. That is not financially smart. Before taking one, remember to review the interest rate, fees, and terms.
Do you have an experience on loans that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments.